For our area, NSW Central Coast, it is - as a dog owner - important to know that spring to summer is the peak Tick Season.
Though there are numerous species of Ticks this post will concentrate on the Paralysis Tick (Ixodes Holocyclus)
As we can see from this image, the highest activity is from October through to February. Peak tick activity has been reported as occurring after short bouts of rain followed by warmer weather. This increases humidity and stabilises the environmental conditions which allow these ticks to be highly active.
Symptoms usually occur within 3-5 days of the tick attaching itself to the host. Symptoms include:
Loss of voice
Increased body temperature
In severe cases, death can result due to hypoventilation - this means not enough oxygen is getting to the lungs.
Most ticks can be found from the nose to just behind the shoulders, as the dog is foraging through bush/scrub, these are the areas most likely to come into contact with ticks and other parasites. If you locate a tick, scan the rest of the body, from tail to nose for more, make sure you’re checking in the crotch, armpits, between the toes, up the nose, down the ear etc. If you have to shave the fur back...so be it. Better be safe than not.
Once a tick is located, you can remove it yourself. Humans can suffer allergic reactions to the ticks’ excretions, so gloves and other protective equipment is recommended, on dogs however this is not reported to be a risk. By using Tick sticks of respective size, you can remove the tick yourself. It is best to keep these in a plastic container and get it to your Vet for correct identification, based on the number of ticks the Vet can also suggest appropriate treatment.
Once the tick has been removed and there are no more symptoms/the vet has given your dog a clean bill of health it is important to allow your dog to convalesce. They should remain cool and calm for 2 weeks. Their feeding should be monitored for the first week. Give the dog a liquidised food to ensure that they are able to swallow. If the dog cannot swallow, skip that meal and retest on the subsequent meal. Check daily for more ticks.
This information does not replace a Veterinarians advice! If in doubt do not seek the assistance of non-medical specialists.
Here's to a Tick free Season!!!